Barangay Ginebra simply lived up to its billing as among the title contenders, fashioning out a 90-79 win over TNT KaTropa in the kickoff of the 44th PBA season before a crowd over nearly 24,000 at the Philippine Arena here Sunday night.
The Gin Kings used their size advantage to the hilt, beating the Texters’ quickness and shooting to win the opening match in the season ushered in by one of the best season inaugurals ever seen in the local pro league.
Tipped as the best team that could best challenge San Miguel Beer in its all-Filipino five-peat bid, the Kings played to expectation and dominated a TNT side handicapped by injuries to Troy Rosario and Yousef Taha.
It was a complete domination except for a good run that the Texters were able to unleash in the third quarter.
Some fans started to troop to the exit as the Kings led by 17 at 90-73 with a little over two minutes left to play.
Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Aljon Mariano, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson formed the starting unit that got the team storming out of the starting gate, and the Kings held on to the lead all the way to the finish.
Brgy. Ginebra 90 – Aguilar J. 21, Slaughter 15, Mercado 11, Thompson 9, Ferrer 9, Mariano 6, Devance 5, Tenorio 5, Teodoro 4, Cruz 3, Caperal 2, Aguilar R. 0.
TNT 79 – Pogoy 20, Castro 17, Trollano 15, Heruela 14, Reyes 6, Cruz 4, Williams 2, Golla 0, Semerad D. 0, Miranda 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 28-15, 49-42, 63-57, 90-79.